Zap Thy Neighbor: A Sci-fi Gadgets Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Are you a science fiction fan? Do you know where your towel is? Can you make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? Strap on your jet pack and grab your ray gun, because it's time to see how much you really know about science fiction gadgets.

What component inside a lightsaber determines the color of the blade?

According to non-canonical sources -- books, comics and other media -- the primary crystal inside a lightsaber determines its colors. Dark Jedi and Sith tend to use synthetic crystals, which give off an ominous red glow.

What can't a "Star Trek" replicator replicate?

While replicators build matter atom-by-atom, the structure of latinum -- used as currency by the Ferengi -- is too complex for replicators. Plus, replicating it would ruin the plot.

When did the inspiration for the flux capacitor strike Doc Brown?

Doc Brown was standing on his toilet in order to hang a clock in the bathroom when he lost his balance, fell, struck his head on the bathroom sink and came up with the idea for the flux capacitor.

Sonic screwdrivers are great, but which of these tasks is too difficult for a single screwdriver?

Deadlock seals are the nemesis of a single sonic screwdriver. The sonic screwdriver is one of those amazing devices that can do just about anything, unless it would hurt the plot.

Speaking of sonic screwdrivers, which incarnation of the Doctor never used one?

"Doctor Who" writers discovered that the versatility of the sonic screwdriver made it hard to put the Doctor in tricky situations. The sixth incarnation of the Doctor never once used one.

What did "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" describe as being "mostly harmless?"

Much to Arthur Dent's frustration, the incredibly useful guide's entry about the Earth was one word: harmless. Ford Prefect sent in an edit upgrading the planet's status to "mostly harmless."

According to "Back to the Future 2," what company produces the hoverboard?

The hoverboard Marty McFly grabs has the Mattel logo on it. That little bit of brand placement in the film convinced thousands of kids that hoverboards were real. We're sad to report they aren't -- yet.

If the Men in Black visit you, they might mess with your memory with which device?

The silver, cylindrical memory-erasing device is called the neuralizer.

Leonard "Bones" McCoy didn't much care for the transporters in "Star Trek." Which other space doc didn't like the thought of dematerialization?

Doctor Pulaski, like Bones, wasn't fond of the idea of having her atoms scattered and reassembled. She would go out of her way to use shuttlecraft rather than energy beams.

In the "Back to the Future" series, which of the following wasn't a 2015 upgrade to the DeLorean?

Doc enhances the DeLorean with an energy-generating device called Mr. Fusion and upgrades it so that it can fly. Cloaking devices, sadly, aren't available.

The Ghostbusters wore proton packs to capture spooks. According to Venkman what were they?

On their first mission as Ghostbusters, Venkman casually refers to the proton packs as unlicensed nuclear accelerators.

Which science fiction series didn't use a living being to translate languages into English?

"Star Trek" used the universal translator, a gadget designed to analyze language and translate it in real time. The TARDIS in Doctor Who and the Babel fish in Hitchhiker's are living creatures that translate for characters.

What do the phasers in "Star Trek" fire?

According to "Star Trek" lore, phasers fire fictional subatomic particles called rapid nadions in a concentrated beam.

What company makes the portal gun in the video game series "Portal"?

Aperture Science does what it must because it can, which includes developing the portal gun.

Which of these devices would allow you to travel between dimensions?

In the cult film "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension," most of the plot centers on the oscillation overthruster - a device capable of interdimensional travel.

The agents in "Warehouse 13" use special guns named after an inventor. Which inventor?

"Warehouse 13" agents use Tesla guns, which fire a quick burst of electricity to incapacitate targets. As a bonus, the gun can wipe out short-term memories.

Some gadgets are really big. What's the name of Sheriff Jack Carter's high-tech house in "Eureka?"

The Self Actuated Residential Automated Habitat is better known as SARAH. Her voice sounds suspiciously like supernerd Douglas Fargo imitating a woman.

Batman's utility belt contains lots of gadgets. But which one of these has never been in the belt?

As far as we can tell, Batman has never carried a BatBerry Smartphone.

Blade Runners use a special machine to determine if someone is human or a replicant. What's it called?

It's spelled Voigt-Kampff in the original story and Voight-Kampff in the film. Either way, it's the device a Blade Runner uses to verify that a subject isn't a replicant.

Writers sometimes regret giving gadgets powerful abilities. Which of these gadgets from "Stargate" was later toned down?

The zat'nik'tel or zat gun could stun, kill or disintegrate victims. Because it could zap through practically anything, it created something of a problem for writers who wanted to create tension in the show. Eventually, the disintegrate feature was quietly forgotten.

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